Thing 39: News Literacy

In the article, “Beyond The Bubble,” by Katie Day, I realized the importance to an active role to enhance global literacy and news literacy skills with my students. Sure, I provide resources to teachers in my building to develop these skills with students. But, our roles as librarians are so unique – we can dabble in many disciplines and content areas.

Also, I am unsure if my students are truly aware of the world around them. Many have never been outside Fulton, and think downtown Syracuse is a huge city. Through global literacy and news literacy, the students will hopefully be more aware and in-tune with different places, people and ideas.

After reading through some of the articles and resources, there are some ideas I want to incorporate into my practice this coming year:

  • Use Newsela with my upper grades to discuss current events and the global world. I want students to blog about their reactions and thoughts to the articles that we discuss. Usually, students have used blogs for book reviews or creative writing, but I want to use the students’ blogs for another purpose. I do appreciate how Newsela has the option of different lexiles for students
  • Com is another site I liked. This looks like an online newspaper for kids; topics are nicely organized and high-interest. At the end of the article, there are writing and reading prompts to promote discussion and communication amongst students and myself
  • Powerful Voices for Kids: This will be a good resource to introduce news literacy to primary grades with its lesson plans
  • YoungZine: Another site to explore with my students next year
  • Student Vote 2016: My students already have opinions about the upcoming November election. I want to engage their interest even more with this website


Classics Challenge: Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery


Image from

WHEN I Discovered This Classic: I discovered this classic a few years ago when I received the box set of Anne books from my sister. At that time, I only read the first three books in the series.
WHY I Chose to Read It: As I packed up my books to move into a new house, my eyes fell on the Anne series again. I remembered how much I loved the first few books in the series, and I wanted to continue to read through Anne’s journey as hers was similar to mine at this point in my life: developing my career, getting married, and buying my first “house of dreams.”
WHAT Makes It A Classic:  The main character, Anne, is a classic character. In the literary world, who has not heard of the red-haired, charismatic, mischievous orphan from Green Gables? The descriptions of nature and the landscape of Prince Edward Island have always made me want to visit this place.
WILL It Stay A Classic: 
This book will stay a classic. I wanted to be Anne when I was a little girl, going on adventures and discovering kindred spirits. I still want to be her as an adult. The Anne series showcases friendship, loss, adventure – many experiences that all people go through, no matter what age or time period.  
WHO I’d Recommend It To: 
I would recommend this book to anyone entering the world of adulthood: career, house, relationship. I connected with Anne’s experiences and it has made my journey into the next chapter of my life full of adventure and laughter, just like her adventure has been.

Thing 30: Final Reflection

***Plan to complete News Literacy lesson once it is available***

What Did You Learn?

  • How did you put what you learned into action at school? Personally? Finished signage for the collection and modified the physical space of the library. All the sections but makerspace and everybody books are done. My library aide helped to create colorful and strategically-placed signage for students on the bookshelves. We moved around the physical space of books (having an easy chapter book section) and moved high-interest genres to a more prominent location. This has helped students become more aware of different books available. We also moved around the physical space of the library. We now have a designated reading/social area, makerspace area, computer area, quiet area, etc. I do want to purchase more rugs this summer to make the library more welcoming for the fall. Also, it is up to me to become an enthusiastic advocate for the library program. No one else can start but me. I have projects in place for the summer to complete that I want to implement in the fall.
  • Did you expand your Personal Learning Network? Make new professional connections? I should have done a better job connecting with other people. I would read their blogs, but did not comment on any.
  • What challenges did you face during the workshop? I am still not a fan of coding personally, but if my students are interested in it, I will happily and enthusiastically learn about it and provide it as a program for them.

What’s Next?

I have started some projects this year that I want to follow up on in the future. They include:

  • Create an infographic as my annual report in June: add more than statistics though
  • Develop the library Goodreads account over the summer to make it ready September and incorporate it into my lesson plans
  • Connecting with stakeholders: create a brochure to connect with students and parents for September, add comments to report cards that show specifically units and standards covered for each grade level, contribute more events and programs, as well as tips (digital citizenship, information-literacy, reading websites, apps) in the monthly school newsletter, create a monthly Smore newsletters for teachers
  • Connect with my public library. For the second year, the children’s librarian will come to speak to all classes about the summer reading program in June. Also, I want to invite a rep to come to open house in September so families can sign up for public library cards
  • Re-shoot the technology sign-out video for the website
  • Maintain a daily journal of what I do each day
  • Use Pixlr for more photos on the website and school Facebook page
  • Have two weeks dedicated to the Hour of Code in December for students instead of one. This summer, I will complete a PD course on coding so I can become more knowledgeable in this area
  • All of the information I gathered I plan to share during the librarians’ PD days over the summer

Did You Like Learning This Way?

Participating in this program has proved to be another enjoyable experience. I appreciate that I could work at my own pace to complete the lessons each week. Online learning has never been a problem for me: I am able to manage my time accordingly.

The most valuable item of this program was new lessons, especially connecting with stakeholders. That track provided some excellent tips for me to implement. I also valued that I could revisit a lesson previously tried a year or two ago.

I need to do a better job connecting with other participants of the program. I read some blogs, but should have done a better job to comment and connect with other educators.

Thank you, Polly, for creating another wonderful experience for us. I plan to complete this program again if it is offered.

Thing 19: Social Reading and Book Stuff

Recently, I joined Goodreads as Shelfari has merged with the social-reading site. So far, I have only transferred my personal account, but for this lesson I made an account for Granby Library.

When Shelfari was around, I posted new books and embedded the widget onto the library’s website. Every few months, students would spend a library special writing a book review for a recent read. This information would be posted to the library’s Shelfari account for others to see.

With a new Goodreads account, I reflected how to make social reading more active and relevant to students, specifically younger kiddos.

To Start

  • Use Goodreads as the discussion format for book clubs instead of Schoology
  • When finishing reading books to students K-3, pull up Goodreads and have students reflect on the book. After reflection, have students rate the book as a whole class. After a couple of months, I think it will be eye-opening for students when I show them what books we have read. This can assist with data, as I can see what books students prefer or do not prefer. I am particularly excited to start this new practice with my students
  • After reading short stories with my older grades, create a discussion around the book in Goodreads (instead of Schoology)
  • Introduce Goodreads to students in the fall during library orientation, along with Destiny Quest
  • When a student uses the book request form, use Goodreads to add the book to the to-read list. This way, students may keep track to see when the book arrives in the library

To Continue

  • As new books arrive, use Goodreads instead of Shelfari to display the books so students know what newer titles are available in the library. Display widget on library’s webpage
  • Updating the library’s Goodreads profile with better pictures and adding the widget to the website

Classics Challenge: Esio Trot By Roald Dahl

WHEN I Discovered This Classic: I discovered this classic when looking through some other Roald Dahl books a few months ago. I added it to my shelf to read, and finally got around to it.
WHY I Chose to Read It: There is not a solid reason why I chose to read this book, other than I wanted to read some more of Roald Dahl’s works and was in between books at the time.
WHAT Makes It A Classic: This shorter story has all the classic Roald Dahl humor and wittiness. It is a charming story, and I rooted for Mr. Hoppy to land Mrs. Silver’s love in the end. 
WILL It Stay A Classic: This book will stay a classic, but I do not think it is as well-known as Roald Dahl’s other works. 
WHO I’d Recommend It To:
I would recommend this book to anyone that needs a quick, good read. I was in a reading slump, but did not want to start a long book. This was the perfect fix to get me into the reading bug again.

Thing 33: Taking the Lead: Connecting with your Stakeholders

“Your Stakholder Connected Librarian Toolkit” by Heidi Neltner provided some excellent ideas to help me improve my outreach and advocacy. Here they are below:


  • Creating more effective signage for the collection. Visuals are key to help students explore different books and collections. Simple things like colorful signage can increase student confidence to independently look for a book. The library fiction chapter books are genrified, but better signage is needed
  • A Google Form for students that come to the library that are not in a library special. We have a sign-in sheet now and students must provide a name, teacher and reason for visit. It might be time for this process to reach 2016
  • Annual library theme. I love this idea. It creates community between all grade levels

Teachers & Administrator

  • Create a monthly digital newsletter that will showcase tech tips, highlight resources that can be used for research, holidays, etc. Smore would be a helpful format for this information
  • Infographic as an annual report. I do need to add some more information to an inforgraphic, other than circulation statistics, but how the library does enhance student achievement

Community & Parents

  • Re-create what I submit to the monthly newsletters that go home. Right now, I write about what happens in library specials and standards that are covered. That can be done in the report card comments. I like the idea of submitting tips for digital citizenship and information literacy, plus showcasing library events and programming more than I do currently
  • Instead of a parent letter that goes home each September with students that explains procedures and programs, I want to switch to a brochure. This makes the information more inviting and I can distribute this to new students (and we receive many transfer-ins throughout the year)

Thing 8: Screencasting and Screen Sharing

This lesson was a fun one to complete because I tried a tool that was new to me: Snagit for Chrome. It was simple to download; best of all, it was free. (I use Screencastomatic to upload videos into my students’ Schoology accounts, and this is one of my favorite tools to use). 

At first, Snagit did not seem intuitive and user-friendly. I had to navigate for some time to learn how to use the tool. After time spent tinkering, Snagit became easier to use.

I decided to create a video tutorial for teachers and staff that shows how to use the calendars to reserve time for technology and mobile devices. Teachers regularly ask how to complete this task, but a video sent through email or posted on my website will make others independent and save me time. I do have a similar video using Screencastomatic, but the pathway has changed. I needed to create a new video anyway, so why not use Snagit?

Here is my first draft below. I need to complete another few takes, but this is the general idea.

After using the two tools, I prefer Screencastomatic. It is easier to convert files, especially into YouTube. I discovered how to convert files into YouTube from Snagit, but it was not intuitive as Screencastomatic.


Classics Challenge: The BFG by Roald Dahl

CaptureWHEN I Discovered This Classic: I discovered this classic a few a years ago when I read some of Roald Dahl’s other books. For whatever reason, I did not pick up this book back in middle school.
WHY I Chose to Read It: I chose to read this book because it was gaining popularity in circulation at my school’s library and I discovered a movie of “The BFG” will be released this summer. Students constantly asked to be placed hold for this book if it was checked out.
WHAT Makes It A Classic: Besides being written by a famous author,”The BFG” is simply a good story. It has adventure, mystery and fantasy. 
WILL It Stay A Classic: There is no doubt in my mind that “The BFG” will stay a classic. Its story is timeless and has proven to transcend through generations of readers. 
WHO I’d Recommend It To:
I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates good humor and a good story. I think children to adults can appreciate “The BFG.”


Thing 32 : Evidence Based Practice – Collecting Data

Reactions To The Readings

I explored “Demonstrating Our Impact: Putting Numbers in Context – Part 1 and Part 2” by Doug Johnson. After reading the article, I realized that the library program at my school has informally implemented some of the recommendations. At first, I thought I was far behind in evidence-based practice, but that is not the case.

The first items that Mr. Johnson emphasized are standards and checklists. What parts of the library curriculum tie into the standards my school has adopted? I follow the Information Fluency Continuum and my school follows the Common Core Learning Standards.

After sifting through the standards again, here are overlaps that I have focused on the past three years to tie into the standards the school has adopted:

  • Difference between fiction and non-fiction texts
  • Identifying and analyzing character, plot, setting, main idea, etc.
  • Difference between fact and opinion
  • Digital citizenship and implementing technology for presentations
  • Following an inquiry-based research process

I think I have done a decent job to support student learning, but I need to be more vocal about that with teachers. This means examining cross-overs between the standards more closely and communicating my discoveries.

Next, the end-of-the-year report template provided was another helpful way to demonstrate impact. This is one area that I need to focus on more to show the library’s impact on student achievement. Sure, I collect monthly statistics for circulation, the collection, events and programs, library usage and technology usage, but I like the showing of leadership team activities and instructional activities. Adding these items to an annual report should be simple, yet effective for the library program.

Tools To Try

Looking through the resources for tools to use to support evidence-based practice, I was once again drawn to infographics. Data visualization can be more powerful to share main points, in my opinion. Pikochart looks like it might be the tool I want to utilize to create an end-of-the-year report in June. I have collected data as I have progressed through the year, so that part is set.

Thing 31: Evidence Based Practice – Getting Started

This lesson has given me a lot to think about for a few days. I did not want to jump in right away. Instead, I read the articles and took a few days to reflect how the library program and I support other stakeholders’ goals, missions and visions. I kept a daily log for a few days of what I actually did:


I continued to reflect and thought how some people think I only check out books and read all day, but the evidence above shows different. Teacher-librarians wear many hats: teacher, tech/helpdesk, rep for meetings and these are only a small bit of what I do. Add program manager, PR, social media manager, manage a budget, order and catalog supplies and much more. But, how to effectively communicate all I do to my school community with evidence?

When looking to see if my program supported the school’s mission, I was shocked to discover the mission statement was not on the website. The overall district’s is available, but my school’s was not anywhere I could find. I know we have a mission statement, but with a district-wide website redesign, where is Granby’s mission statement? Has it not been posted yet? (Will look into this further with people).

So, I looked at the district’s mission instead:

“It is the mission of the Fulton City School District, in cooperation with students, parents and the entire community, to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills needed for relevant, lifelong learning and to become responsible, respectful, and productive citizens.” Fulton CSD Mission Statement: 

I looked at my program’s mission statement and it somewhat supports the district’s by teaching students skills (information literacy, tech) and provide “access to diverse materials to engage academic and personal interests.” I think I need to edit my mission statement a bit more to coincide with the district view. First, I need to recall Granby’s mission statement, too. I hope to edit my mission statement for the next part of this lesson to match Granby’s and the district’s more effectively.

Additionally, I do keep track of statistics each month:

  • Materials circulated
  • Visits to the library (free read, AR program, makerspace, book exchange, research, computers)
  • Check outs for technology (ipad cart, labs, laptop carts)

I would like to put all this information into an infographic annual report at the end of the year, instead of a Google Doc. The visual might be more effective and eye-grabbing. I looked at some on Pinterest. I thought I could take photos of students during an exit ticket using thumbs-up/thumbs-down method or working on a Google Form.

At the end of the year, I could have students take a survey asking what has helped them this year and what they would have liked to learned that they didn’t learn. I did a similar survey with students for an autobiography project, and many said they would have liked to use a new tech tool-to challenge them more. I am taking the data and reflections to revamp this project for next year. Their feedback helped immensely.

For student data, I use Google Forms or Schoology for most of my exit tickets to ensure students have understood a concept of a lesson. I look at the data to see if I need to reteach. I do have some print exit tickets, and look at this data the same way.

I also need to take a closer look at the CCLS and the IFC standards to see what skills crossover and communicate to my community that I help students with these skills, too. (Example: Understanding character, setting and plot in first grade).

I am excited about this project; it will be a long-term project, but it is something that needs to be done. I will have three years under my belt at my school and it is time to up my game even more to help students and school community.

Here are some things I need to do in between now and the next lesson:

  • Find my school’s mission statement and edit mine to match it
  • Post my new mission on the library’s website
  • Keep collecting evidence and statistics to store until it is time to make an infographic
  • Continue a log of projects I do and a daily journal of activities completed at school